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Did We Fail To Mention The Big Prize?

What’s more diabolically exhilarating than hiding a tarantula under your best friend’s coffee cup?

Handing it over to the unsuspecting sucker who names it.

Doug: “Hi Mrs. Brayman. You’ve won grand prize in the Name Doug’s Tarantula contest. Here, hold the cage.

Mrs. Brayman: “Ahhhhrrrrggg!!”

Doug: Come now, Mrs. Brayman. Get to know your new pet, Wooly Bully.”

Wooly Bully is the winning name hospital radiology worker Debbie Brayman, 37, bestowed on my previously nameless bug.

A big hairy spider may have been exactly what Sam the Sham had in mind back in 1965 when he growled: “Watch it now. Watch it, now. Here it come. Here it come….”

There were plenty of contenders from which to choose. Boris, Hairy Scary, Hairygram, Herbert, Bugsy Malone, Archie, Arnie, Tootsie, Godzilla, Dracula, Spanky, Possilq…

Possilq? “It means predators of opposite sexes sharing living quarters,” explained Dick Ripley, who left that cryptic message on my Voice Mail.

Had I solicited money for a leper colony or a personality implant for Spokane Mayor Jack Geraghty, maybe four or five calls would have trickled in.

But 108 of you responded to my request for arachnid nicknames. It’s a sure sign the end of the world is near when half the town turns out for a tarantula.

“Name him Peter Parker, after Spiderman’s true identity,” said Ryan Gonzales, 21.

“I think Blanche is nice,” said John Woods, 44.

“Try Buddy Holly because it eats crickets,” said Jim Jones, 47, who called from Almira.

Dana Faydo offered Tulip. “I wanted to name our Rottweiler puppy Tulip, but my husband said no bleeping way.”

“Fran the Tran,” said Pam Jones, 42.

Mike and Amy Warren, a couple in serious need of extended couch time, drove to the newspaper to give me a can of Raid and a poem they wrote.

“I’d name my spider, Fred.

For when I was done stomping,

he surely would be dead.”

To recap, last week I chronicled the epic saga of my trip to a pet shop for a tarantula to stick under my best friend Hoover’s coffee cup.

Once paramedics jump-started his heart, Hoover rudely refused to accept my gift.

So a Name the Tarantula contest seemed like a great way to unload my hairy-legged creature. I probably should have mentioned the winner got the spider, but that would have killed a lot of the enthusiasm.

Many callers wanted to name the spider Hoover. Others suggested celebrity names such as Spokane City Councilwoman Bev Numbers. “Of course, that might be insulting your spider,” said Pete Powell, who submitted the nasty Numbers entry.

Some cretin advocated Doug the Slug Jr. Another offered Mangan, as in Spokane Police Chief Terry Mangan.

In the end, Wooly Bully was favored in an informal newsroom survey of my editors, who have quite a lot in common with spiders.

So last Thursday night, I loaded up the fist-sized Wooly in its pink cage and drove to the Brayman residence on Longfellow - an aptly named street for a surprise spider delivery.

I knocked. Debbie answered with her two boys, Chris, 14, Danny, 10, and her husband, Robert, 40.

Once the shock wore off, we put Wooly Bully on the kitchen table. All five of us huddled around the cage, waiting for the spider to dine on a cricket.

Debbie’s friend, Carla Gamache, looked at us with horror. “I just want to go home,” she said. “You people are nuts.”

Wooly struck faster than you can blink.

He jammed the cricket into its greedy spider mouth and began sucking the life blood out of the hapless insect.

“Yes,” agreed Robert, a Kaiser worker. “It does remind you of what Congress does to a taxpayer.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

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